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The weird keyboard layout of Dell Inspiron Mini 9

The Inspiron Mini 9 is Dell’s first entry to the world of netbooks. To differentiate itself from the others, they decided to make its keypads larger than most 9″ netbooks. That’s great right? Since most 9″ (and even some 10″) netbooks have keypads that can frustrate people with big fingers.

But by making the keypads larger, they had to sacrifice something. See for yourself.


First thing you might notice is the lack of the F1-F12 keys at the top of the number keys. Actually, they are there sans F11 and F12. If you look closely you would see them on the ASDF row.

I don’t know about you but I usually use alt-F4 to close an application and F5 to reload my browser or refresh my screen. With the Inspiron Mini 9, the shortcut for closing an app would be Alt-Fn-F.

arrowkeys Next would be the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys. Quite useful keys when browsing through a huge document and Dell decided to put it within the arrow keys. Actually, it’s not that hard to press Fn-Arrow keys but it would take some time to familiarize.

Hmm, did they make a pact with the Fn key or something?

apostrophe Then how about the apostrophe and the double quote? They are now located at the bottom row between the context menu and the left arrow key instead of beside the Enter key. Again, prepare to do a lot of trial and error when typing for accuracy.

You could also see the hyphen relocated beside the letter P.

So with the redesigned keyboard layout, do you think Dell made a bad decision? Yes, you can spend some time to get used to the different layout but netbooks are usually secondary PC’s and it might drive you mad switching from the Mini 9’s keyboard to a normal one.

If you have the money, will you still buy this netbook considering its unusual keyboard layout or will you skip it in favor of others?


Calvin is a newbie blogger who’s working as an IT consultant and blogs for a hobby. He has his own personal blog, Calvin’s Hub, where he writes about his thoughts on just about everything that interests him.

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  • I recently bought this new laptop from Lenovo and I was so happy about it until I found out that the makers decided to switch the placements of the left Ctrl key and the Fn key. It took a lot of time for me to get used to it. Every time I use another laptop I get disoriented again with the keyboard layout. So I can just imagine how annoying it would be to use that mini 9. But then again, no power user would ever get something like that in the first place.

    And after seeing that funny keyboard layout, I consider myself lucky for having just one peculiarity in my new laptop’s keyboard.

  • ton

    is there an actual Dell store in the philippines? if so, where is it? if not, where can i buy the mini near araneta?

  • Is the laptop will sufficiently enough to run a graphic suite such as COREL?


  • I bet this’ll be a pain to use. Adding the navigation controls to the arrow keys is fine, but the rest of the remapping seems awkward to me.

  • I guess in time you could get the hang of using such a keyboard. But the problem is if you regularly have to switch between a desktop and a netbook, such differences in keyboard layouts can be quite annoying and can really slow you down.

  • Hello, this is Sean – I’m a Community Manager with Box.net. I just wanted to remind readers that Inspiron Mini users get 2 GB of free online storage from Box.net, along with our simple sharing tools. Hope the keyboard experience gets better over time!

  • hmmm…at first I thought that was an ergonomic keyboard…thats pretty funny…hahaha

  • I like that all stuff!

  • I like a Mini Keyboard. It’s not the easiest one around to use, but it’s certainly the easiest one to carry.

  • Great look at some weird hardware from Dell, have to let out a laugh at their stuff every once in a while haha! Thanks again, great post you’ve got here and really nice blog

  • I find the Mini completely unusable because of the switching of the apostrophe and enter keys. I’m a fast touch-typist, and I usually work on a regular-sized keyboard. It’s excruciating to try to take notes on the mini, because I keep hitting enter instead of ‘.

    I’m going to sell it and buy something with a normal keyboard.

  • Looking nice waird keyboard layout of dell. This laptop will be able to run graphics suit. Any way your post is nice. I found nice information here.